Meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism was one of the first types of tourism to be impacted by the global spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), and could be one of the last sectors to fully return, as international business arrivals are expected to drop by 35.3 percent in 2020, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
“MICE events are now taking place online, without the need for companies operating in the tourism sector. This is a worrying trend for all industries involved in travel and tourism. The longer restrictions and guidelines last around MICE tourism – while other national economies start to pick up – the more companies, attendees and event organizers may start to become accustomed to hosting and attending MICE events online, whilst appreciating the unseen benefits they bring,” said Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.
Companies in all sectors will be looking for ways to reduce costs in the coming years as they reel from the economic impact created by Covid-19.
Hollister also notes that business travel is a costly expense for all companies, and with the rise of video conferencing software such as Zoom and Google Meet, many will realize that this type of ongoing expense is unnecessary.
Meanwhile, the ongoing danger of contracting the coronavirus at a MICE event paired with the fact that business travelers can now achieve the same objectives and goals of a conference in the comfort of their own home, means that demand for many MICE events is likely to fall.
“Business travelers themselves may not be keen to undertake the frequent and often stressful trips they were performing pre-pandemic,” Hollister added.
Although it’s likely that meeting and conference tourism demand may never fully recover, exhibitions and trade fairs on the other hand, are much more effective when they take place face-to-face due to attendee motivations around networking and assessing and experiencing products and services in person.
However, due to the mass gatherings of people that these kind of events encourage, it is unclear when it will be safe and secure to start holding these events once again, the GlobalData analysis concludes.